Sunday, December 30, 2007

Home again, home again, jiggity jig

This has been a Christmas to remember. An adventure, really. Grab a cup of coffee, or tea, or a glass of wine, sit back and enjoy the tale and photos.
Our adventure began on the evening before Christmas eve, when we decided to drive down to stay the night at a hotel near the airport we were departing from. On the way down, I realized we (okay, *I*) forgot to pack William's Leapster (I did remember to pack the charger for it!). Usually we cannot survive a happy restaurant experience without the Leapster. After thinking about dropping everyone at the hotel and going home to get it, Robert convinced me just to stay put. William didn't seem to miss it. We had a restless night, because for some reason, William didn't really want to sleep which of course, means Mom & Dad didn't get much sleep. I think I finally fell asleep at 2am. My alarm was set for 3am, so I could wash up and get my makeup on before we left.... I am that vain~ I do not want to travel without looking my best, no matter how I feel. We woke the kids about 3:45 and we left the hotel shortly after. I dropped everyone except William off curbside with the luggage, so they could check the bags while I parked the car. I found a great spot, got William out and we walked to the terminal together, meeting up with Robert, Sarah & Doug.
William was awesome going through security, and happily held Daddy's hand walking to our gate. He was excited sitting in his seat on the plane, thinking we were going to Scooby Doo's Spooky Island.
Robert & William
Sarah loved being at a window seat, and thrilled to be on her way to see Mariko.
Sarah
After an uneventful flight, we landed and looked to see what our next departure gate was, only to see that the flight had been cancelled. The post below goes into that.
Doug & William while we waited to find out about another flight
Doug & William
Passing the time, watching a movie
William
While having a bit of breakfast at an airport restaurant, William completed this drawing Daddy started
Artwork
Artwork
William finally got tired enough to nap while we waiting for another flight
Waiting
Which made for a grumpy boy when we finally got to get on the airplane, where we waited for takeoff
Grumpy boy
It was great to see Mariko again; we've all missed her.
Mariko & Robert got some snuggle time in
Robert & Mariko
On Wednesday we met up with some friends of ours from an online Down syndrome board, and after lunch we went to a nearby park.
William loved the slide
William
William & Riley try to figure out which way to go
Park
Riley & Andi
Park
Emily & Sarah
Park
On Thursday we met up with Mariko and Sarah at the Stanford campus so she could give us a little tour.
Campus Tour
The church there is impressive
Campus tour
We walked a little loop, from the oval to the medical center and back, and then headed out for lunch and shopping. We met back up at our hotel.
Mariko & me
Mariko & Mom
Robert & WIlliam
Tickle time

Robert and I did get the chance to go to dinner with Andi and her husband Jeremy, but I totally forgot to take any pictures because we were having such a good time laughing, eating and chatting. It won't be the last visit we make to Palo Alto, so there will be pics of us together in the future.

No visit with Mariko is complete with a game (or several) of Scrabble, so I packed my travel Scrabble. Mariko laughed as she put down the word 'doctors'
Scrabble
Doug won that game; I won the other 3, thank you very much.
William was so pooped the night before we left, but he still has to sleep with his best buddies, Buzz and Woody
Snoozing
Saturday morning, Mariko brought Sarah back to the hotel (Sarah had stayed with Mariko at the dorm the night before), had breakfast, and then it was time to load the car up and head to the airport. It was wonderful to see Mariko and spend time with her, but the week passed by so quickly!
We returned the rental car, checked our bags and went through security. William decided to take the opportunity to run when Robert was trying to put his own sneakers back on, which had a few of the security personnel chase after William as he ran, laughing, in between the screeners. After Robert retrieved him, the rest of us gathered our things, we headed to our gate, only to find out that our flight was going to be delayed. Oh joy.
Waiting
Luckily, we were right next to the kid zone, where there were plenty of interactive things to keep the kids occupied. William was totally fascinated with the tornado machine. Tornado
When we were finally able to board, we knew the window of time to make our connecting flight was going to be really tight. William didn't care... he was happy to be flying again
Flight home
Flight home
After landing, we hurried out of the plane, found the departures board and saw that our next flight was boarding. We ran as quickly as we could, with Sarah and William laughing, the 10-12 gates to get to our gate. I am out of shape. The kids think it's great fun. Doug is not ready to fly anywhere anytime soon, and Robert probably doesn't want to fly on United again.
But we made it. And on our way home
Flight home
We got home just before 1am, and it's true... There's no place like home. Our house was clean, thanks to our son Jim & his wife Steph, who came to housesit for us. And they put clean sheets on our bed, which felt wonderful after a nice hot shower.

Next year, we're having Christmas at home. I think I'll go overboard with decorations and food. Who knows? Without the adventure we had this year, next year's might not be so memorable. This one's gonna make me shake my head and chuckle for years and years to come.